Americans prize the ability to improvise, adapt, and overcome obstacles. We like it when people are faced with seemingly insurmountable odds yet find a way to maybe not cheat the system but push the boundaries of the rules to succeed when everyone expected failure.
Think Captain Kirk and the Kobayashi Maru scenario. Unfortunately, this is quite problematic when it’s not the protagonist that improvises, adapts, and overcomes. When the villain does this, the hero has to outmaneuver, outthink, and outsmart the antagonist. Though it is usually part of the plot of a film, the villains in real life can improvise and attack.
Ovarian cancer is a perfect example of this. Thankfully, researchers are finding ways to outfox this silent killer.
Ovarian cancer has a number of advantages when it comes to spreading and resisting treatment. Many of the symptoms of this cancer are vague and similar to other conditions, including aging. The result is that the majority of women are not diagnosed with ovarian cancer until they are in the later stages, by which time, the cancer has a solid foothold.
Different treatments have been around for a number of years including chemotherapy and surgery. Unfortunately, these cancer cells are particularly resistant to such treatments. Therefore, women with the disease need to have multiple options for how to fight this disease.
In 2014, the FDA approved the first new treatment for ovarian cancer in eight years. Since then, a number of drugs have been approved. One type of treatment, called poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors work by preventing cancerous cells from repairing themselves after they were damaged by other treatments.
Initially, PARP inhibitors were only available to women who were genetically predisposed to developing ovarian cancer because of BRCA gene mutations. The BRCA mutation is usually associated with breast cancer, but the connection with ovarian cancer rates cannot be ignored.
This will be one more possible way for doctors to outmaneuver, outthink, and outsmart ovarian cancer.